March 3, 6:00 p.m. Aussie Time

North Stradbroke Island (“Straddie”)  -  A report by Emmett Well, we woke up on our last morning in the rainforest to… rain. Buckets of it. Figured we’d head for the coast, maybe find the sun. After arriving on Straddie in early afternoon via the Big Red Cat Ferry, we found only more rain. But we also easily found our way to Cypress House, our Japanese-style abode we had rented for the next three days. For those of you who know our place in South Pasadena, this house is similar—the outside is inside, lots of light, very open, lovely garden with fruit trees. A few differences—the shower is outside, the spiders are bigger, and we use the dishwasher. Overall a very lovely base for our Straddie adventures. We took a quick look around the town and its beaches, then settled down for a lovely dinner and early bedtime, as Barb’s cold was getting worse.

Wednesday morning the rain had relented, so we drove around the island to Blue Lake National Park for a morning hike. After a couple kilometers (and several near-death experiences with large colorful spiders who caringly strung web traps across the trail), the clear skies turned to drizzle, which turned to downpour. We are not hiking wimps—two days prior we had hiked 17 kms of rainforest trail in the rain and leeches. But the rainforest canopy was not there to protect us, and giant spiders are a bit more of a deterrent than leeches (who knew?), so we turned back, hopefully to retry tomorrow.

Returning to Pt. Lookout, we had lunch at our house and then headed for some beachwalks, as the rains had again diminished in frequency and intensity. The first walk was an elevated trail above several rocky outcroppings and gorges, with storm-lashed waves crashing and sending spray almost to our eye level. Then we took another trail down to Deadman’s Beach, where we were treated to a bevy of lovely tidepools, and a few stinging squalls of rain. Barb’s DayQuil was wearing off, so we grabbed a café table overlooking the waves and she got a flat white. With more rain looming over the Pacific, we decided to call it a day and head for Cypress House.

(Click on image for slideshow.)

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